You Never Know
Picture an idealic sunny Sunday afternoon at the prestigious Wellesley Country Club just outside of Boston. Spending breaks walking around the beautifully landscaped grounds, enjoying a cold beer on the deck overlooking the golf course…. I thought it odd that all day long people were asking, “Is John going to play?” “Hey, are you guys going to let John play?”
Now, every professional musician will tell you that there are many possibilities that can occur as the result of letting someone sit in. The possibilities range from harmless fun to embarrassing. It can often ends up being the equivalent to what’s known in baseball as a “rally killer.” I kept redirecting sit-in inquiries to other topics such as the Red Sox or the weather.
Finally it’s time to have dinner and standing next to me in line at the buffet is the bride’s mom. She asks, “Are you going to let my Johnny sit in?” It’s the bride’s mom so reluctantly I say, “Sure, what instrument does your Johnny play?” She raised her eyebrows and with an incredulous look said, “Guitar!” “Ok, geez… just have him come up right after dinner and introduce himself.”
With a smirk, I inform the band with an apology that some guy is gonna come up and sit in and play his guitar. With a typical roll of their collective eyes they mumble something like, “Mmmm yeah, ok, whatever….”
After the first song of the first set ends, a gentleman steps up to the band stand holding a crying baby… “Hey man, sorry about this, my mom and sister want me to sit in…but I’ve got to get out of here…my baby just won’t stop crying so I’m going to split like right now.” The entire band stands and stares like a pack of deer blinded by headlights…our mouths agape…finally I hear the bass player, a young kid studying at Berklee pipe up, …”Oh my, God, Sco…that’s Sco… I can’t believe…it’s John Flipping Scofield.” With a wave of his hand, the monster guitarist known as John Scofield vanished as quickly as he had come. The band was humbled.